20 German tongue twisters for beginners and advanced learners

All German sentences sound a bit like tongue-twisters to you? Wait until you see some actual German tongue twisters!

Learning German can be quite a workout for your tongue. With long and quirky words like “Kinkerlitzchen” or “schlürfen”, German is the perfect language for tongue twisters.

All tongue twisters tend to focus on the trickiest sounds of a language. So by practicing them, you'll practice the pronunciation of all those difficult German words you’ve probably struggled with before.

You’ll master the subtle differences of sounds like “ch” and “ck” or “tsch” and “sch”, which will make you feel like an absolute language pro.

Once you’ve managed to say “Wenn du Wachsmasken magst, Max macht Wachsmasken aus Wachsmaskenwachs”, every other German sentence seems kinda easy after that.

So warm up your mouth muscles for some crazy, twisted and hilarious German tongue twisters!

Friends try some twisted and hilarious German tongue twisters!

Tongue twisters in German

In German, tongue twisters are “Zungenbrecher”, literally “tongue breakers”, referring to silly phrases that are challenging to pronounce, especially when you say them fast.
The expression is one of the many body-related idioms in German.

English has some difficult words and tongue-twisters, too, but German is taking the tongue-twisting to another level. Some include simple alliterations, which use the same first letters in a row or palindromes, which read the same backward as forward.

More difficult tongue twisters include consonant clusters as in the example: “Zwischen zwei Zwetschgenzweigen zwitschern zwei Schwalben.”

As you can see, this has several similar consonant clusters:

  • "zw" (in "Zwischen" and "Zwetschgenzweigen")
  • "schw" (in "schwirren")
  • "tsch" (in "zwitschern")

10 fun German tongue twisters for beginners

The individual sounds of tongue twisters are so similar that you’re tempted to confuse them - but don’t let them trick you! Here are some popular tongue twisters in German to get you started.

Zehn zahme Ziegen zogen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo.[t͡sɛ:n ˈt͡sa:mə ˈt͡si:gən ˈt͡so:gən t͡sɛ:n ˈt͡sɛntnɐ ˈt͡sʊkɐ t͡sʊm t͡so:]Ten tame goats pulled ten hundredweight of sugar to the zoo.
Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid.[ˈblaʊ̯kʁaʊ̯t blaɪ̯pt ˈblaʊ̯kʁaʊ̯t ʊnt ˈbʁaʊ̯tklaɪ̯t blaɪ̯pt ˈbʁaʊ̯tklaɪ̯t]Blue cabbage remains blue cabbage and wedding dress remains wedding dress.
Wenn Fliegen hinter Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen hinter Fliegen.[vɛn ˈfli:gən ˈhɪntɐ ˈfli:gən ˈfli:gən ˈfli:gən ˈfli:gən ˈhɪntɐ ˈfli:gən]When flies fly behind flies, flies fly behind flies.
Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz.[ˈfɪʃɐs fʁɪt͡s fɪʃt ˈfʁɪʃə ˈfɪʃə ˈfʁɪʃə ˈfɪʃə fɪʃt ˈfɪʃɐs fʁɪt͡s]Fischers Fritz fishes fresh fish, fresh fish fishes Fischers Fritz
Wir Wiener Waschweiber würden weiße Wäsche waschen, wenn wir wüssten, wo warmes Wasser wäre.[vi:ɐ̯ ˈvi:nɐ ˈvaʃvaɪ̯bɐ ˈvʏɐ̯dən ˈvaɪ̯szə ˈvɛʃə ˈvaʃən vɛn vi:ɐ̯ ˈvʏstən vo: ˈvaɐ̯məs ˈvasɐ vɛ:ʁə]We Viennese washerwomen would wash white laundry if we knew where warm water was.
Lang schwang der Klang am Hang entlang.[laŋ ʃvaŋ de:ɐ̯ klaŋ am haŋ ɛntlaŋ]The sound resonated long along the slope.
Schnecken erschrecken, wenn sie an Schnecken schlecken, weil zum Schrecken vieler Schnecken Schnecken nicht schmecken.[ˈʃnɛkən ɛɐ̯ˈʃʁɛkən vɛn zi: an ˈʃnɛkən ˈʃlɛkən vaɪ̯l t͡sʊm ˈʃʁɛkən ˈfi:lɐ ˈʃnɛkən ˈʃnɛkən nɪçt ˈʃmɛkən]Snails get scared when they lick snails because, to the horror of many snails, snails do not taste good.
Bierbrauer Bauer braut braunes Bier.[ˈbi:ɐ̯bʁaʊ̯ɐ ˈbaʊ̯ɐ bʁaʊ̯t ˈbʁaʊ̯nəs bi:ɐ̯]Brewer Bauer brews brown beer.
Acht alte Ameisen aßen am Abend Ananas.[axt ˈaltə a:ˈmaɪ̯zən ˈasən am ˈa:bənt ˈananas]Eight old ants ate pineapple in the evening.
Im dichten Fichtendickicht sind dicke Fichten wichtig.[ɪm ˈdɪçtən ˈfɪçtəndɪkɪçt zɪnt ˈdɪkə ˈfɪçtən ˈvɪçtɪç]In the thick fig thicket, thick figs are important.

5 tips for learning German tongue twisters

You don’t feel like you’re ever gonna be able to say any of these? Just take it step by step. Here are 5 tips to help you practice your German tongue twisters:

5 tips for learning German tongue twisters.

1. Start slow

Exaggerate each sound like you’re speaking in slo-mo. The slower you say these, the better. Don’t go for speed until you’ve mastered each sound.

2. Break it down into syllables

Focus on each syllable by itself. If you’re looking at a word like “Streichholzschächtelchen”, divide it into each one of its syllables. To do that, look for the vowels: “Streich-holz-schächt-el-chen”.

3. Understand the challenge

If you know what makes the tongue twister a tongue twister, it’s easier not to stumble on its specific challenge, from palindromes to consonant clusters. Know your enemies!

4. Practice with a friend

It will be the most fun if you practice with someone else. See who fails first and have fun with the hilarious things you’ll accidentally say.

5. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

As with everything else, the more you practice, the easier it will become. If you say anything a hundred times, eventually you won’t even have to think about it.

10 of the hardest German tongue twisters

Now that we gave you some helpful tips, are you ready to level up?

Once you’ve mastered the basics, try these advanced German tongue twisters - and if you still trip over your tongue, don’t worry. Even natives, including myself, tend to trip over these!

Wenn meine Braut Blaukraut klaut, dann ist sie eine Blaukrautklaubraut.[vɛn ˈmaɪ̯nə bʁaʊ̯t ˈblaʊ̯kʁaʊ̯t klaʊ̯t dan ɪst zi: ˈaɪ̯nə ˈblaʊ̯kʁaʊ̯tˈklaʊ̯bʁaʊ̯t]If my bride steals red cabbage, then she's a red cabbage-stealing bride.
Die Katzen kratzen im Katzenkasten, im Kasten hört man die Katzen kratzen.[di: ˈkat͡sən ˈkʁat͡sən ɪm ˈkat͡sənkastən, ɪm ˈkastən hø:ɐ̯t man di: ˈkat͡sən ˈkʁat͡sən]The cats are scratching in the cat box, in the cat box you hear the cats scratching.
Der Cottbuser Postkutscher putzt den Cottbuser Postkutschkasten.[de:ɐ̯ ˈkɔtbu:zɐ ˈpɔstkʊtʃɐ pʊt͡st de:n ˈkɔtbu:zɐ ˈpɔstkʊtʃˈkastən]The Cottbus postal coach driver cleans the Cottbus postal coach chest.
Ob er aber über Oberammergau oder ob er über Unterammergau oder ob er überhaupt nicht kommt, ist nicht gewiss.[ɔp e:ɐ̯ abɐ ˈy:bɐ ˈo:bɐˈamɐgaʊ̯ ˈo:dɐ ɔp e:ɐ̯ ˈy:bɐ ˈʊntəʁˈamɐgaʊ̯ o:dɐ ɔp e:ɐ̯ ˈy:bɐhaʊ̯pt nɪçt kɔmt ɪst nɪçt gəˈvɪs]If he comes via Oberammergau, or via Unterammergau, or not at all, isn’t sure.
Zwischen zwei Zwetschgenbäumen zwitschern zwei Schwalben.[ˈt͡svɪʃən t͡svaɪ̯ ˈt͡svɛtʃgənˈbɔʏ̯mən ˈt͡svɪtʃɛn t͡svaɪ̯ ˈʃvalbən]Between two plum trees twitter two swallows.
Wenn du Wachsmasken magst, Max macht Wachsmasken aus Wachsmaskenwachs.[vɛn du: ˈvaksmaskən makst maks maxt ˈvaksmaskən aʊ̯s ˈvaksˈmaskənvaks]If you like wax masks, Max makes wax masks from wax mask wax.
Es sprach der Herr von Rubenstein, mein Hund der ist nicht stubenrein.[ɛs ʃpʁa:x de:ɐ̯ hɛɐ̯ fɔn ˈʁu:bənʃtaɪ̯n maɪ̯n hʊnt de:ɐ̯ ɪst nɪçt ˈʃtu:bənʁaɪ̯n]So spoke Mr. von Rubenstein, my dog, he's not house-trained.
Der Grubengräber gräbt die Gruben. Graben Grabengräber Gruben? Graben Grubengräber Gräben? Nein! Grabengräber graben Gräben. Grubengräber graben Gruben[de:ɐ̯ ˈgʁu:bəŋʁɛ:bɐ gʁɛ:pt di: ˈgʁu:bən ˈgʁa:bən ˈgʁa:bəŋʁɛ:bɐ ˈgʁu:bən ˈgʁa:bən ˈgʁu:bəŋˈʁɛ:bɐ ˈgʁɛbən naɪ̯n ˈgʁa:bəŋˈʁɛ:bɐ ˈgʁa:bən ˈgʁɛbən ˈgʁu:bəŋˈʁɛ:bɐ ˈgʁa:bən ˈgʁu:bən]The gravedigger digs graves. The ditchdigger digs ditches. Do ditchdiggers dig graves? Do gravediggers dig ditches? No! Gravediggers dig graves. Ditchdiggers dig ditches.
Sie stellte das Tschechische Streichholzschächtelchen auf den Tisch, auf den Tisch stellte sie das Tschechische Streichholzschächtelchen[zi: ˈʃtɛltə das ˈtʃɛçɪʃə ʃtʁaɪ̯çhɔlt͡sʃɛçtɛlçən aʊ̯f de:n tɪʃ aʊ̯f de:n tɪʃ ʃtɛltə zi: das tʃɛçɪʃə ʃtʁaɪ̯çhɔlt͡sʃɛçtɛlçənShe put the Czech matchbox on the table, on the table she put the Czech matchbox.

Hope we didn’t break your tongue

Don’t overthink it. As soon as we get into our heads, we tend to trip. Most tongue twisters are nonsensical anyway.

Like “If my bride steals red cabbage, then she's a red cabbage-stealing bride.”

So don’t look for logic and just let your tongue do the work - if it’s still working properly after all this madness.

We hope we didn’t break it, especially because you’ll need your tongue to practice all those other words that are waiting for you on our fun German language blog!

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